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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 27 Oct 2013 (Sunday) 16:39
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With Speedlite, White Balance = Auto or Flash?

 
lar55
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Oct 27, 2013 16:39 |  #1

(Caution, beginner's question ahead. Yes, I'm shooting JPEG)

The manual for my Speedlite 430EX II says that when the camera's white balance setting is either AWB or Flash, then the Speedlite sends its color temperature information to the camera.

My EOS 60D manual says that WB=Flash uses the Speedlite temperature information, but it does not say that WB=AWB does also. (Nor does it say AWB does not.)

Should I get the same results when using the flash with either white balance = flash, or white balance = AWB? Because it doesn't seem to work.

I took some indoor pictures recently with my 60D and 430EX II (not bounced), and the colors seem more 'off' (warmer, red/orange) when the camera white balance was set to Flash. I changed to AWB, and the colors seemed much better.




  
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oldvultureface
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Oct 28, 2013 06:47 |  #2

lar55 wrote in post #16403599 (external link)
Should I get the same results when using the flash with either white balance = flash, or white balance = AWB? Because it doesn't seem to work.

Here's what I get. With the flash head in the normal position and AWB, the pictures are cool compared to flash WB. When I bounce, the results are very close (warm).

I have three bodies, an XXXD, XXD, and XD. They are all similar, cool with direct flash and AWB, warm with direct and flash WB, warm with either AWB or flash when bounced.




  
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Curtis ­ N
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Oct 28, 2013 07:10 |  #3

I was always under the impression that the camera would use the color temp information from the flash if using either Flash WB or Auto WB. But I honestly have never tested it.

I think if I was shooting JPEG I would shoot a reference target and use that to set a Custom WB if at all possible.


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dmward
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Oct 28, 2013 08:05 |  #4

First consideration is whether the flash is dominate light source or augmenting ambient.
If its augmenting ambient the camera has to take all the light into consideration to find the best white balance for the scene. That suggests Auto.

If flash is dominate, then flash or custom.

Shooting weddings (in raw) I've tried using auto, K value, flash and custom. Now I leave the camera on auto. Saves a lot of time adjusting camera settings. And, its a snap to make minor adjustments in Lightroom if required.


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vengence
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Oct 28, 2013 09:40 |  #5

Buy a copy of lightroom already :p




  
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lar55
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Oct 28, 2013 09:50 |  #6

dmward wrote in post #16405104 (external link)
First consideration is whether the flash is dominate light source or augmenting ambient.
If its augmenting ambient the camera has to take all the light into consideration to find the best white balance for the scene. That suggests Auto.

If flash is dominate, then flash or custom...

Interesting. I'm not sure this is exactly what you mean, but perhaps you are suggesting that when the camera is set to WB = Flash, it only uses the color temperature information transmitted by the Speedlite. But when set to AWB (WB = auto), it considers both the speedlite-transmitted color temperature and the ambient light - or perhaps it measures the captured light which includes the flash contribution, and ignores the transmitted temperature information?

This could explain the differences I'm seeing between AWB and Flash, but it doesn't seem to match what Canon prints in their manuals.




  
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dmward
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Oct 29, 2013 08:40 |  #7

The camera is setting white balance based on all the color information from the scene regardless of what light is being used to illuminate a specific area of the image.

When set to Auto the algorithm comes up with a K value that best satisfies the image regardless of actual illumination. When set to any specific light source (Flash, Cloudy, etc.) the algorithm accepts that input as the light source and adjusts white balance for the images based on that input regardless of what the actual illuminate.

The reason I asked about the dominate light source in the image and how relates to your flash is because, if flash is lighting the subject and incandescent lights are illuminating the rest of the room and you have the WB in the camera set to flash, the subject will be about right color temp but the room will be overly warm looking. AWB tries to find the happy middle ground.


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lar55
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Oct 29, 2013 21:55 |  #8

I took a closer look - found 2 pics I took in the same general area, both with flash, one with AWB and one with Flash WB. In both cases the foreground (lit by flash) seems about the same balance. The background - which is an off-white warehouse wall maybe 50' away - is noticeably different. With Flash WB it is warmer, more red; with AWB it is much more neutral white/gray. (Building lights are fluorescent, not incandescent though.)

Thanks for the info. I still think Canon should make it clearer in the Speedlite and/or camera manual.




  
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dmward
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Oct 29, 2013 22:47 |  #9

White balance is one benefit available when shooting raw.
The EXIF bit is set for the camera designated white balance but the raw image data is not changed. Thus its easy to make a change in editing if required.


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ksbal
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Oct 30, 2013 10:36 |  #10

Or set white balance in camera using a grey card after you have set good exposure. otherwise the color balance will be wonky.


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With Speedlite, White Balance = Auto or Flash?
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